The Vote to Elect the Iranian President
One day to the airing of the third presidential debate, the IPPO poll show that Hassan Rouhani is still the leading candidate. Four days to the third debate, nearly 55% of those who say: 1) they will definitely or likely participate in the May 2017 election and 2) are inclined to vote for one of the six running candidates, have voted for Hassan Rouhani as their first choice. After Rouhani, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s votes have somewhat increased to 22%. Ebrahim Raisi stands in the third position with 20% of the respondents’ votes (see the above chart).
One should take into account that the margin of error of this poll is between 3-4%. Therefore it is important to focus on tracking, trends and development of patterns involved. As merely concentrating on a particular number can lead to incorrect conclusions. The steepness of the vote-on-vote slopes for increase of Hassan Rouhani’s votes and the decrease of the number of undecided vote shows a somewhat symmetric and reverse relation. One should not disregard the fact that although the number of undecided voters is falling, seven days to the Election Day still 25% of respondents are undecided and 11% do not express a clear opinion as to whom they may vote for. The undecided voters and those declining to disclose their decision can change the outcome and muddle the forecasting equations (see the chart to the left).
Second Choice Voter Preferences
In the past seven days respondents were asked: “if you were to change your mind before the Election Day, who else will you vote for instead of your first choice?” About one-fifth of the voters insist on only voting for their first choice and say they will not vote for any other candidate. Another one-fifth is still undecided. Ghalibaf’s rating as the second choice candidate is slightly growing but at a slower rate.
The Most Unfavorable Candidate
Most respondents still prefer not to indicate which candidate is so unfavorable that they will not vote for him under any circumstances. In other words, almost 46% of the respondents either say that no one among the candidates is the most unpopular or that they cannot or do not wish to name the most unfavorable candidate.
The ranking for the most unfavorable candidate is similar to the ranking of the most favorable candidate. The highest rating of unfavorability is of Hassan Rouhani with 6% and after him Ghalibaf (6%) and Raisi (5%). Jahangiri with less that 1% of the unpopularity vote continues to stands as the least unfavorable candidate.
Respondents’ Prediction of Candidates’ Victory
Respondents’ forecasting of the election results will portray the election milieu and distinguish between respondents’ own inclination and their predictions of the final outcome. Comparing the candidates leading in the first to third positions, in the past seven days Rouhani is leading in the category of likelihood of winning the presidency as predicted by respondents. Rouhani’s votes in this category have been increasing slightly each day. Respondents therefore think that Rouhani has a greater chance of winning the elections. In the same category, respondents predict that Ghalibaf and Raisi have an equal chance of winning.
The rates of participants who are going to vote have remained more or less the same in the past seven days. Around 72% of respondents say they are likely or very likely to vote in the May 2017 presidential election. In contrast, 15% say there is little chance or very little chance that they will participate in the elections. Besides the 5% of respondents that say they are somewhat likely to participate in the elections, 2% of the respondents have not yet reached a decision with regards to participation.
Projections of election participation rates in polls such as this one does not neatly translate to voter turnout rate on the day of the election. Projections of the voter turnout in polls are often more than the actual turnout on the day of the election; this is not unique to the Iranian context and is relevant to all pre-election polling.
Following Presidential Debates
The number respondents who confirm they follow presidential debates are gradually increasing. It should be noted that respondents’ perception of “following debates” is both following the actual debates and the media coverage of the debates as well as candidate’s advertisements broadcasted on the media. As of now about 60% of the respondents say they have been following the election debates and 40% of them say that they have not been following the debates or that they are not aware such debates even exists.
This polling was carried out at a national level in Iran from 9 May 2017 to 12 May 2017 and reported on a four-day rolling average basis.
The interviews were conducted via phone. Interviewers were trained – both for general skills of phone polling and for the specific needs of this survey. The interviewers were selected post training after passing an interviewing skills exam.
The sample size was 1199 Iranians, 18 years and older, who were residing in Iran and were selected randomly.
Sampling methodology is a two-stage proportional sampling. It’s on the basis of each of the service operators’ market share and then simple random sampling.
Assuming maximum variation, the results of this survey can generalize to the whole of the 18 years and older Iranian (resident in Iran) with a margin of error of ±2.83 to ±3.75 for the 95% confidence interval (based on responses to questions).
The data were weighted based on the last available National Iranian Census (2011) with gender, age group and place of residence (urban/rural) as weighting variables.
Farsi native speaking interviewers conducted the interviews during daylight hours, local time.
The results of each interview was assessed twice by the interviewer and the supervising team – in terms of respondent’s trust in the interviewer and the interviewer’s assessment of the respondents’ honesty.
Those respondents who had received very low scores for trust and honesty have been removed from the random sample.